One design, really?

Sorry I'm late in replying to this one, been too busy studying!

IMHO, if you were really fast before, you'll still be really fast now. If you had developed the skill set required for supervanging, adjusting the outhaul, and trimming the cunningham on the move before, then upgrading will make basically no difference to your performance.

On the other hand, if you were struggling before, then upgrading MIGHT help. It wont turn a poor sailor into a pro tho!

After all, they say that 90% of a boats performance is down to the nut on the end of the tiller! :)
Interesting comments!
One of the issues here is that the upgrade costs a lot of $. My question: is this is the cost one pays for one design, or does it stop competition between different manufacturers?
My point is: by only allowing the official laser vangs, the two manufacturers are making tons of money, without ever having to worry about their market share.
Would it hurt the one design concept to let other manufacturers design a vang? Could one produce a vang that would make someone faster?
Laser sails need strict regulations, but hardware such as vangs as well?

The bottom line with the pro rigging is that it makes the boat easier for a per son with an all around sailing background to enjoy the boat. (such as myself) When I first experienced laser sailing in 1990, I discovered quickly that it took a lot of practice to stay current in the boat. My college sailing took me away from the laser, but now the changes in the class really help in changing gears and make sailing this boat much more appealling.

The only real issue left with this class is how unreasonable the cost of being competitive, as stated earlier with the inferiority of the class sail and the cost of a fifteen year old boat still 75% of what it cost new. people say old boats are still competitive, but wear and tear ought to have more of an effect on the boats residual value than it does. The effective lifetime of the sail issue is pandemic to all one design fleets, but fifteen hundred bucks for a 1978 boat is a little unreasonable, considering what it costs to install a maststep kit and replace the foam. Two years ago I bought a 1979 santana 20 for 1500 bucks with solid sails and a trailer. Granted that was an excellent deal, but I think that its ridiculus to pay the same money for a similar vintage laser with a 3 year old sail, a dolly, and no road trailer. Come on guys, it only weighs 138 lbs. where's the value?
This is quite a different issue: costs of used boats are not controlled by anyone. Lasers indeed keep their value. What does that mean? No one would pay these amounts if these boats are crappy and hence the prices would be much lower. In other words: the prices are high, because the quality is good. A 78 boat with all the upgrades and a dolly is certainly going for 1500. You can also find a beater for 500 from that year. How are these prices regulated? By the market mechanism of supply and demand that Adam Smith described as the invisible hand.



Just sailing
Strict one-design? No. Will a good sailor in a boat with old-style rigging beat a mediocre sailor with new-style rigging, yes. The controls don't make the boat faster.

Here's how I view it - the new rigging opens the class to more sailors. Instead of being stuck with the same one-size-fits-all controls, each sailor has a certain amount of lattitude to design controls to fit their needs and sailing style. They will enjoy the boat more and keep sailing it. Stuff that really affect the speed of the boat - hull shape, blade, sails - are still strictly one-design.

Yes, there is a monetary cost associated with the upgrades. However, there is also a time commitment required to find a control system which works best for you. That is certainly time much better spent then trying to figure out how to get more purchase out of the vang using only an extra $0.23 worth of line. Quite frankly, the cost of the upgrades is neglibile compared to what I spend on entry fees, hotels, gas and food over the course of several years.
49208 said:
... not to give anyone an advantage, but to make it easier ...

To me this means giving some people an advantage and thus a performance improvement. Pre the changes you had to be fit, strong and motivated (to some degree anyway). After the changes, those not as fit, strong nor motivated were able to spend a bit more money and get better performance and do better.

For example, pre changes a long race in a decent wind. The fitter stronger more motivated people keep going and keep their sails adjusted decently and thus are going faster. After the changes, those fit strong and motivated people are now facing greater competition as others are not keeping their sails correctly adjusted, not because they are fit strong, etc. but because they have paid for the upgrade.



Just sailing
Deimos said:

Pre the changes you had to be fit, strong and motivated (to some degree anyway). After the changes, those not as fit, strong nor motivated were able to spend a bit more money and get better performance and do better.
Again, I put forth my argument of drawing more people into the class. Do we want to be a class of elitist Olympic athletes, or a class of weekend warrirors - some of whom have beer guts, jobs and families, only giving them a couple hours on the weekend to sail and no time for the gym.
If I'm reading what you are saying correctly, prior to the rigging upgrade, the stronger, more fit people had an advantage over those less fit and strong when it came to adjusting the controls.

I agree. Next, the controls are changed so that it easier to adjust the sails.

You say that gave the less fit, less strong an advantage. I believe all it did was take away the advantage strong/fit had.

An advantage is when someone can do something that the others can't. In this case, there is no advantage because everyone can now adjust their sails.

All is does is level the playing field in this regard.
I'm not very fit at all so surely I should be allowed to start before everybody else so we are all on this "level playing field". When you talk about "taking away advantages" from the fitter, stronger, you could also phrase that as "giving the not as strong, not as fit advantages". Ones' build, strength, weight, skill, (luck ?), etc. all contribute. Seems to me that if we seek a "level playing field" then we should also ban hiking as some people are heavier than others and this gives some an unfair advantage.

I realise some of the above are taking thinks to a bit more of an extreme that the two boats now available, but I do think that its the same principle.

I'm not against the changes, trouble is that it seems to have made two boats in a "one-design". Of course its all a matter of degree. Before the changes I think there were a decent number of non-Olympic level fitness freaks having great weekend racing in lasers (certainly used to be in the UK). It was fun, etc.



New Member
Diemos, the ability to handle the old sail controls wasn't just governed by fitness and motivation - age, physical size, and sex also had big roles to play. As one of those who was training hard and had plenty of upper-body fitness, I think it's good that the older Masters, Women and Youth - who are already at a disadvantage to "open" males - have had the playing field levelled out a bit. That's got to be good.

If you're comparing "open" males, then the guy who training hard enough to have a fitness advantage is going to be miles ahead of the guy who was too unfit to use the old sail controls anyway.

All the new sail controls are doing is allowing the slower sailors to keep a bit closer to the front, and that's a good thing.
Please don't mis-understand me, I'm not against the new rig controls, just not keen on the two boats. I think that when the new rules were implemented, the "old" rig should be allowed for boats built before a certain data/hull number, but after that only new rigs. Thus the problems of two boats would be minimised, and old boat owners would have been able to upgrade should they wish.

Its the "Laser" and "Laser Pro" that is (IMHO) two types that I think not good. Buying my own this winter and I will almost certainly get a new rig one.

I would bet that the "problem" will solve itself in a relatively short time thanks to good old market forces. How many new boats are being sold with the classic rigging compared to the new rigging? And how many of those classic rigged boats are even raced (with the classic rigging)? I'll bet it's precious few. Also think about how many older boats are being upgraded to the new rigging (while there are probably very few being downgraded to the classic rigging. . .). Probably in a few more years this provision in the rules will end up being mostly an anachronism like allowing wood blades for the boats that originally came with them or 3.2 oz sails or sail numbers drawn on in magic marker -- it provided for an orderly transition and the majority of Laser sailors are moving on. Personally I think this was a pretty wise compromise on the part of the Powers That Be that allowed for progress without making old boats obsolete.